When Prevention Fails, Mitigation Reigns

Last updated on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at 6:25 PM by Editor.

We are, hopefully, always in prevention mode. You know, trying to prevent everything bad, including the unspeakable, from happening. But with society where it’s at these days, no level of proactiveness will always be successful at stopping bad guys with guns (or vehicles, or whatever) that are hell-bent on hurting people. That’s where mitigation comes in.

Venues need to have staff (and in some cases clients or students or whoever) who have been trained to expect the worst and know in an instant what to do, and they need to do it instantaneously.

In addition, just as important, venue staff, anyone working in a venue in an official capacity, principally those with on call, supervisory, or management standing, should be equipped with two-way radios or other effective methods of communications with an ability to communicate in real time with internal and external resources, and they must have the absolute authority to sound a general alarm (the power to trigger the issuance of venue-wide alerts, close the venue, or place it in lockdown) without it being delayed, nixed, or even questioned by higher-ups. In other words, there’s no chain of command in these cases.

Such measures will not necessarily prevent carnage, but it will likely reduce it, sometimes to a significant degree.

When I served in law enforcement the police surrounded and contained incidents like active shooters pending the arrival of negotiators and/or a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team. Today, the police must respond (and mostly do) to active shooters immediately, regardless of their lack of training (certifications and/or specializations); regardless of available back-up, present or enroute; and regardless of their firepower (say, a Glock 22 with a 15-round magazine loaded with conventional ammunition versus an AK-47 with a 100-round high capacity magazine loaded with hollow point rounds).

When they arrive on scene, they need to immediately go directly toward the gunfire. Scary, huh. Yeah, but not unlike what firefighters have been doing for decades. They’ve always gone toward the fire. Perhaps a piss-poor analogy, but you get the point. Anyway, that’s what cops must unhesitatingly do today because seconds count. Many active shooters who have been stopped by the police still had ammunition, in some cases plenty of it, and had the police not arrived the carnage wouldn’t have stopped.